The Spatial Ingroup Bias: Ingroup Teams Are Positioned Where Writing Starts

Maria Laura Bettinsoli, Caterina Suitner, Anne Maass, Luigi Finco, Steven J. Sherman, Bruno Gabriel Salvador Casara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In four studies, we test the hypothesis that people, asked to envisage interactions between an ingroup and an outgroup, tend to spatially represent the ingroup where writing starts (e.g., left in Italian) and as acting along script direction. Using soccer as a highly competitive intergroup setting, in Study 1 (N = 100) Italian soccer fans were found to envisage their team on the left side of a horizontal soccer field, hence playing rightward. Studies 2a and 2b (N = 219 Italian and N = 200 English speakers) replicate this finding, regardless of whether the own team was stronger or weaker than the rival team. Study 3 (N = 67 Italian and N = 67 Arabic speakers) illustrates the cultural underpinnings of the Spatial Intergroup Bias, showing a rightward ingroup bias for Italian speakers and a leftward ingroup bias for Arabic speakers. Findings are discussed in relation to how space is deployed to symbolically express ingroup favoritism (Spatial Ingroup Bias) versus shared stereotypes (Spatial Agency Bias).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • cross-linguistic comparison
  • ingroup favoritism
  • script direction
  • spatial bias
  • spatial representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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